IND vs SA, 2nd Test: Coach Dravid returns to Wanderers with happy memories

The Wanderers witnessed a young Rahul Dravid's maiden Test hundred in 1997 before leading India to a historical win over the Proteas nine years later.

The Wanderers Stadium witnessed Rahul Dravid's first Test ton (L) in 1997. Nine years later, Dravid led India to its first Test win on South Africa soil.   -  The Hindu, Reuters

The Wanderers will bring back happy memories for Team India and Rahul Dravid.

It was at this venue that a young Dravid made his first Test hundred - an innings of 148 - against a high-quality pace attack to put him on course to what would be a great career.

Dravid followed it up with 81 in the second innings, but South Africa, eight wickets down in the fourth innings, hung on for a draw.

“The hundred was very satisfying but I was disappointed with the result. We came so close to a win,” said Dravid.

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However, Dravid and India could not be denied in 2006 against a powerful South African side at the peak of its powers.

Skippered by Dravid, India made 249 in its first innings, comeback man Saurav Ganguly top-scoring with 51 against a potent attack of Dale Steyn, Makhaya Ntini, Shaun Pollock, Jacques Kallis and Andre Nel. 

Then S. Sreesanth whipped up one of the finest exhibitions of swing bowling to slice through the South African top and middle order with a spell of five for 40 as the host was bundled out for 84.

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The batting line-up which included, Graeme Smith, Herschelle Gibbs, Hashim Amla, Kallis, Ashwell Prince, AB de Villiers, Mark Boucher and Pollock, lay in tatters.

India took the game away from South Africa posting 236 in its second innings, the elegant V.V.S. Laxman top-scoring with 73.

In an interesting side story, the normally punctual Laxman, undefeated overnight, was a tad late for the team bus in the morning and the side coached by Greg Chappell, a strong disciplinarian, left without him. Laxman, fuming, followed the team bus in a taxi!

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India set South Africa a target of 402 and despite a gutsy 97 by Ashwell Prince, South Africa was dismissed for 278 with Man of the Match Sreesanth, Zaheer Khan and Anil Kumble sharing the spoils.

This was India’s first Test victory on South African soil. A historic occasion.

Then in 2018, Mohammed Shami bowled India to a 63-run victory with five for 28 after South Africa, dismissed for 177, threatened with Dean Elgar (86, he carried his bat on a spiteful pitch) and Hashim Amla (52).

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It was a dramatic match with play for the penultimate day abandoned after a Jasprit Bumrah delivery rose from a length and struck Elgar on the helmet.

There were several heroes for India. Man of the Match Bhuvneshwar Kumar contributed with the bat and the ball, Bumrah scalped five in the first innings and Cheteshwar Pujara, skipper Virat Kohli, M. Vijay and Ajinkya Rahane batted with exemplary courage against a testing South African attack on a vicious surface.

Can India register its first Test series triumph on the South African soil in its favourite venue in the Rainbow nation?

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